Day 2 - IntroductionIntroduction
It's Day 2 of Computex 2003 and we are back amongst the action visiting DFI and Shuttle in the morning as well as attending DFI, VIA and nVidia press conferences in the afternoon.Again it was a fully action-packed day, so let's get right into it!DFI
We stopped by DFI's booth yesterday and had a look at their range of enthusiast LANPARTY
and upcoming INFINITY
range of motherboards. DFI has decided to compete in the hobbyist market recently and this has shown with the launch of CMOS Reloaded
which was introduced at the lovely Agora Garden hotel this morning.
I attended the DFI CMOS Reloaded press conference where folks from DFI talked to media about this new technology, the next best thing since jumperless - as they put it, and I totally agree. CMOS Reloaded
allows you to save currently up to four pre-set (more later with BIOS updates - up to eight) overclocking settings in your BIOS in real time instead of having to write them down on paper like the old fashioned way. Then using hot keys which you can define, you can select which system environment you like.
DFI brought up the valid point that the purpose of a computer is to record information, yet enthusiasts have had to write down successful overclocking settings on paper with pen since the art began. DFI also told us their CMOS Reloaded technology will not just be included in their INFINITY range but also LANPARTY B series which will be ready soon.Here are pictures of DFI's INFINITY Canterwood, Springdale and nForce II Ultra motherboards from left to right:
The INFINITY series will hit shop stores soon, moving on...
Day 2 - ShuttleShuttle
Next up we visited our friends from Shuttle (one of the kind companies to sponsor our trip to Taiwan) who was showing off their range of very popular XPC units.There must have been almost 100 separate XPC systems planted around the Shuttle booth in a range of different colors in a creative set pattern to form the giant black X logo. Looking around the Computex halls, it's interesting to see just how many companies have taken Shuttle's innovative lead and entered the small form factor market for their piece of the pie.
We were invited into Shuttle's VIP room where we saw some of their upcoming XPC units including an Athlon 64 XPC as well as a funky looking Tomb Raider edition painted XPC and others. Before coming to Taiwan we were already impressed with Shuttle's work, these just add a whole new dimension:
Day 2 - Shuttle ContinuedShuttle Continued
We are going to be going to the Shuttle party tonight - it will be interesting to see if Shuttle springs any further surprises on us. Let's hope so.
Day 2 - VIA Press ConferenceVIA Press Conference
This afternoon VIA held their press conference which discussed where the company is headed and what they (and their sponsors) have planned for the VIA Technology Forum tomorrow in Taipei. Unfortunately we saw no product announcements from VIA today; instead they will come tomorrow.Starting off the press conference, Richard Brown let the medium-sized crowd know that VIA had recently taken delivery of their one millionth wafer from TSMC. VIA estimates that translates into around 400 million chipsets, which would pretty much close to spot on from the wafers we have seen in previous years.S3 Graphics were also in attendance and talked briefly about their new Delta Chrome
GPU. S3 do not intend to just focus on the gamer but with more focus on other aspects of the system which S3 say is equally important, if not more. These aspects include DVD playback, DVD creation, entertainment PC and so forth. They want to enhance graphics experience beyond gaming benchmarks and take PC graphics to the living room, as almost directly quoted from the speaker. Even still, S3 still say that gamers will be pleased with gaming performance from Delta Chrome, which according to a VIA representative will be on par to Radeon 9600 Pro.An analyst from JPR also spoke briefly (while battling to keep up with the slides) who mentioned how he thought too much importance was being placed on hardcore enthusiasts and gamers. He mentioned that there are around 5 million hardcore users worldwide with around 25 million users who are more casual and don't like to pay the high amount for high-end products, which is partly what S3 are tapping into. He has a point, but obviously doesn't care for tweaking and overclocking a whole lot. Bad luck for him - although maybe if he read TweakTown more, we could change his thoughts?
Day 2 - nVidia Press ConferencenVidia Press Conference
Next up we had the nVidia press conference, which firstly I have to say was much more lively and upbeat than VIA's somewhat low key conference. Just walking in the doors, you feel overwhelmed by the moment with all the vibrant green colors and masses of people waiting to hear what nVidia had to say - and a LOT
they did.- GoForce
After nVidia's CEO gave a brief run down about the company and intentions for the next 10 years, nVidia firstly announced their GoForce
which is a handheld mega pixel media processor mostly for mobile phones.
nVidia's first GoForce
product will be the 2150 and will be in mass production in partner handheld devices by the end of the year. It is the highest performing and lowest power consumption product of its kind on the market according to nVidia at 1.3 mega pixels. For a size comparison, nVidia showed the micro-sized GoForce chip in comparison to what we think is the GeForce FX 5950.
We saw a picture of a girl at 1280x960 which was taken using the device, and compared to current generate camera phones, this thing blows it away and is comparable in image quality to mid range digital still cameras. Like nVidia mentioned, we may actually start using the camera on our mobile phones for a real purpose rather than just messing around with them with your friends. All new technologies have to start off somewhere - this started as a novelty - and is developing into a more productive and useable commodity.
nVidia are claiming the GoForce
is able to able to out perform the Game Boy Advance
by up to 25 times. They believe you should be able to play your favorite game in full color and in 3D while you are waiting for a train on the way home from work, and they are working hard to make this a reality sometime next year and intend on developing many different products of this nature in years to come. In fact, nVidia were showing a phone with this technology, but we didn't get a chance to see it close up - so we don't know for sure if it's actually working yet or not.
Day 2 - nVidia Press Conference ContinuednVidia Press Conference ContinuednVidia Media Center
Next up Dan from nVidia talked to us about a whole range of different things, but the one thing I want to focus on is Media Center.
Media Center is nVidia's technology which helps make the PC much more interactive and entertaining in the home. With the time available, there is no way I can go into every detail about Media Center.The interesting feature though that did have the crowd (and myself) stunned was how Media Center gives you the ability to have one server, which has cable TV (as one example) plugged into it, with the ability to stream TV onto other computers around the house over wired networks and eventually wireless as more bandwidth is found.While this itself is not a first, our jaws dropped to the floor when we saw the streaming live TV feed pause on the client PC while the server PC (which might act as the lounge room TV) continue to play. After a few seconds the feed on the client PC was resumed and left off where it was paused and continued on behind the live TV feed from the server.
nVidia didn't explain how this works but we can only presume that when the live feed from the client PC is paused, the feed from the server is recorded to the hard drive (in probably massive amounts of data due to lack of compression - so I don't imagine you being able to pause for long, probably enough to visit the toilet) and stopped when the feed is resumed. I've thought about how this could be possible from a live feed
without recording the whole TV stream after the pause occurs and still haven't figured it out - if you have the brains to, please put my mind at rest.- ForceWare
Next up nVidia announced their ForceWare product which is a unified software product which includes nVidia's full range of new software which include things like nVidia RAID and highly advanced desktop management.
Again we don't have the time available to tell you about everything about ForceWare. Instead in the name of TweakTown
we will give you a first look at nVidia's Windows overclocking software simply called nV system utility
which many of you have been eagerly waiting for the past couple months.
As you can see above, you are able to adjust bus speeds as well as memory timings. If that isn't enough for you, you can also monitor CPU and system temperatures as well as voltages and clock speeds. Just remember, all your dollars spent on performance hardware has made this a reality and nVidia (and any other company) should be pat on the back for giving us the free software and spending many R & D dollars on development of such software.To demonstrate the software, nVidia ran Quake 3 time demo and then overclocked the system about 10% and ran another time demo. Like Steven from Legion Hardware
said to me after the tests, it was amazing to see nVidia overclocking in their press conference - not long ago, it would have been laughed off by company bosses. Again, you guys made this happen!
Day 2 - nVidia Press Conference ContinuedClosing
In closing, before the ending five minute Q & A session, nVidia showed us a couple of their products which will be available soon including what we think is the unannounced GeForce 5950 and a reference nForce2 Pro 250 for Dual AMD Opteron processors.
nVidia mentioned at the end that they hoped that people were not too upset that the GeForce range did not receive much attention. They hoped that this would show people that they are just not a GPU maker but a more diverse company with a bunch of new and exciting initiatives for the future.
Day 2 - ConclusionConclusion
From what we have seen so far at Computex 2003, it is clear that many companies are beginning to focus on more than just pure performance. The market needed the performance over the past 5 years which has been delivered well to us for our current needs. Now, in this day and age, for companies to remain profitable, since users have the speed they have asked for, they need some new ideas to keep them interested and buying. This has been echoed by many different industry leaders so far...and we are only at Day 2.We have been seeing a lot of wireless related products being driven very hard by companies like Intel and VIA, a different focus on graphics processing by S3 Graphics, DFI with their CMOS Reloaded and Shuttle with their sensational XPC units which are all working in tandem to give buyers a more diverse and very exciting range of computer products to buy. If this keeps up, I am positive the IT industry will boom again in the next year or so, just like it did when performance products were starting to be released around 3 years ago - but probably much more.It's a bloody good time to be in this industry. Good times and we'll see you again tomorrow for Day 3 coverage!